The UMass softball team swept St. Bonaventure in its doubleheader at Sortino Field today in a close 6-4 win in the first game and 12-4 mercy-rule pounding in the second. Here are some of my thoughts:
- If you missed the games, you can get stats from UMassAthletics, and also be sure to be on the lookout for my highlight reel of the games, which should be on dailycollegian.com some time tonight, as well as Kaitlin Boyer’s recap article, which should be in the paper and on the site on Monday.
- More offensive explosions from the Minutewomen. Two games, 18 runs, four homers, 21 hits. Does not get much more explosive than that.
- Since the team started conference play against Dayton, UMass has scored 44 runs in 5 games (8.8 runs per game), the exact same number of runs they scored in the 17 games they played in Florida and California (2.59 runs per game). If this new trend is any indication, we should be expecting more explosiveness from the UMass bats as the season goes on, which should make the season pretty fun to watch.
- Caroline Raymond looked like a real No. 1 starter in the second game. She struck out six hitters, allowed only four hits and two walks, and had a no-hitter going through the first three innings. Unfortunately, one hanging curveball with two runners on is all it takes to almost make it a disaster, and that 3-run shot in the sixth by Christine Watson almost allowed the Bonnies to come back on Raymond. But Raymond kept her composure and struck out Hali Enderby right after to end the inning.
- Emma Mendoker put in a solid performance of her own in the first game. She was not as dominant as Raymond, but she showed great ability to handle high pressure situations. She left 13 St. Bonaventure runners on base (to put that in perspective, the Minutewomen stranded five in that game) and only gave up four runs despite giving up seven hits and seven walks.
- UMass catcher Samantha Gray got her first hit of the season with a solo shot in the second inning of the first game. That must have taken some of the pressure off, because she got another hit in the second game that drove in a run. She also made a spectacular diving catch on a pop-up bunt to end the third inning of the second game.
- The defense could still use some improvement. They committed four errors behind Mendoker in the first game. Mendoker is a pitcher who primarily gets hitters out through groundouts (16 of the 18 people she got out through her six innings of work in the first game grounded out), so she needs a good infield behind her. With Taylor Carbone already at 10 errors at second base this season, Teea Rodgers at 13 at third, and Quianna Diaz-Patterson at 19 at shortstop, it is clear the defense needs to improve if Mendoker is going to succeed this season.
- The Minutewomen will next be traveling to Storrs to take on UConn in a nonconference game on Tuesday. Be sure to check out the preview articles written by myself and Joey Saade, to appear in the Collegian and on the website on Tuesday.